Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Suited to a Savile Row Challenge

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Suited to a Savile Row Challenge

Article excerpt


SINCE graduating from Oxford's Said Business School, Patrick Grant has fashioned a bespoke career running his own tailoring business on Savile Row.

When he acquired Norton & Sons in October 2005, Patrick, 33, took on 185 years of tradition, a client list that has included Jools Holland and the King of Prussia, as well as generations of City folk and country gentlemen - and a brand that was in urgent need of a facelift.

"My business school thesis was on luxury British heritage brands, looking into the way that they managed to compete," explains Patrick. "I studied Burberry's success in repositioning itself, as well as a couple of Savile Row companies, and wondered whether other old British brands could replicate that success.

"Then one day at business school I happened to be looking at the ' businesses for sale' section in the FT and saw a tiny postage-stamp-sized advert saying 'Bespoke tailors, Savile Row, established 1821, for sale'. For me it was an amazing coincidence."

Patrick immediately wrote to Nicholas Granger, who was then running the firm, and they met up a few times to discuss his situation, what was unique about Norton & Sons and why it was in the position that it was.

"When I began looking at it, I could see the business wasn't making enough of its heritage," says Patrick.

"We were still selling some fabulous clothes, and we were very lucky to have some great tailors working for us. But the business wasn't innovatingits product and we were targetinga tiny niche, aiming solely at the British shooting fraternity.

"I became intent on restoring the name of the firm as one of the world's best clothing manufacturers for men, as well as attracting a younger market and promoting the women's range."

Although Patrick confesses to displaying entrepreneurial tendencies "in the playground", this is a new departure for him. Graduating with a degree in material science from Leeds in 1994, he spent two years in the US working as a ski instructor and as a booker for an LA model agency before returning home to market semiconductors in the telecoms industry for a series of blue-chip firms. …

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